Starring: Ha Ji Won as Ji-Soo, Kim Myung Min as Baek Jong-woo
Running Time: 121 min
Twinkies: 3 1/2 handkerchiefs
Synopsis: Ji-soo, a funeral director, happens to oversee the funeral services of Jong-woo’s deceased mother. Being old friends, they are excited by the unexpected reunion, but the reality is more bitter than sweet. Jong-woo is suffering from the incurable Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Ji-soo has been through two painful divorces. Jong-woo lightheartedly asks Ji-soo to just marry him. Ji-soo is surprised by the offer, but it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to her. She wants to start a new life with the love that is starting to grow inside her, while the fear of losing Jong-woo scares her as well. despite the disapproval of those around her, Ji-soo still goes through with the marriage to Jong-woo. As Jong-woo’s symptoms beginning to worsen with each passing day, Jong-woo gets easily irritable as he begins to lose control over more and more parts of his body. Even though he hurts Ji-soo’s feelings, all she wants is to stay with him and cure his disease.
Musings: Happy movie? Closer to Heaven is not meant to be one. What it does, very effectively, is to show how we deal with love and relationships as we also deal with death. Ji Soo dealt with death every day working at her father’s funeral home. As a matter of fact, I don’t think she thought too much of death at all before she began her relationship with Jong-woo.
Not only did we watch Jung-woo and Ji Soo’s relationship grow but we also got to witness death in general. The movie features other characters and their family relationships when dealing with a family member and their illness; a brother dealing with his brother’s illness; mother and her daughter; older woman and her husband; and a husband with his vegetative state wife.
Kim Myung Min’s transformation to Jung-woo was shocking! I read somewhere he lost a lot of weight for this role! He totally is a consummate actor to immerse himself into the role of a man suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease. Having seen him in other roles, he was totally unrecognizable!
Ha Ji Won, as the sometime forward Ji Soo was fun. Throughout the movie, her attempts to get pregnant before he died were kind of hysterical. Seeing her in this type of role is kind of different. Other than Sex is Zero, she generally plays the “Girl Next Door” roles so this was refreshingly different. Yes, this is not a happy movie nor does it have a happy ending. But what it does for us is help us see how to handle death. I remember the first time I saw this was probably 2 months after my father passed away from Pancreatic cancer, one of the worse cancers to have with extremely low survival rate. Surprisingly, I think having experienced this personally, I was less affected and sad. I thought it was well put together story but definitely not for everyone.
Trailer is available on on YouTube Website only. The movie is available on several sites. Ask me if your interested.
I’m available on Twitter. Thanks to all of you Twinkles out here who are taking the time to read! If you have a suggestion for a future review, just leave me a comment! I’m always happy to have movie suggestions.